Skin treatment targets cancer and acne

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skin cancer cellsThere's news for your health about a high-tech skin treatment that targets two very different conditions. It's called photodynamic therapy.

Not only does it clear up severe acne, it can also stop certain types of skin cancer in the earliest stages.

"About 10-years ago I started to develop skin cancers on my body and I've had about four or five removed." It's the price Debby Robinson pays for having spent so much time in the sun over the years.

And this could be just the beginning.

Her doctor, Dermatologist Tina West, sees more signs of sun damage. "Some of the things we can see are some areas that are red and scaly around her face."

Robinson has lesions known as actinic keratoses that often lead to skin cancer.

But a procedure called photodynamic therapy or PDT can get rid of them before that happens.

PDT is a two-step process. First a special chemical solution that makes the damaged cells sensitive to light is applied to the skin. It's painless. Then the patient sits under a special blue-light.

That combination kills the pre-cancerous cells.

What's more, it can attack cells below the skin's surface.

Debby's having the treatment to target precancerous cells on her face, but this same process is also effective at treating acne.

Whether it's for acne or for sun damage, patients usually need several treatment sessions.

But Debby says it's a big improvement over skin cancer surgery. "This was very simple. Very relaxed procedure, I'm thrilled with it."

PDT is usually covered by insurance.

Also, patients must stay out of the sun for 24-hours following each procedure and there could be some redness for a few days. 

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